Vegan Frangipan is as easy as pie. Or tart. Or positively scrumptious. Daring Baker’s Time, kids!

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The June Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart… er… pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800′s in England.

Bakewell Tart (Vegan)

I have 2 confessions to make :

Confession number one = I wasn’t very excited about this challenge.

There. I said it.

When I saw this month’s challenge recipe I found it rather uninspiring and even considered skipping out because I had a multitude of other baking obligations this month…Nearly 200 cookies for Guppy’s school (not at once), 36 savory scones for my school…I’ll stop here. I didn’t think this pudding tart thingy sounded very exciting, and just kept dragging my feet about the whole thing.

Confession number two = Sometimes I am SO wrong about things it’s funny.

My husband, Monsieur Fish, doesn’t read my blog, thankfully, so I can share with you and the monde entier that sometimes I just don’t have any idea what I am talking about (often times to myself, but I digress…).

Wednesday evening, in true last minute style, I thought I should maybe make this month’s challenge. I knew I had yet another work luncheon on Thursday, and my students had requested I bring something sweet. I shrugged my shoulders as I began setting up the kitchen and figured at least I could bring it to my students who just love to see how I transform desserts into Vegan yummies.

Yummy is rather an understatement here.

Blackwell Tart (Vegan)

I don’t know why, but as I printed out the original frangipan recipe from the forums, it dawned on me that I was about to veganize frangipan!! For many, this may seem like small potatoes, but here in France, frangipan shows up in many beloved patisseries that I’d never attempted before. Why, if I could successfully veganize frangipan, I could make a galette des rois this year. Ha!

Reading the Alternative Baking Forums I’d seen that many of my Baking possé had great success veganizing the frangipan using various strategies and ingredients. I decided to throw caution to the wind and follow the recipe as written and just swap in Ener-G egg replacer for the three eggs and to use non-dairy butter.

Oh yeah, can you get a whiff of the sweet smell of success here?

I also changed up the crust and used the Vegan Shortbread Crust from The Joy of Vegan Baking. This is a wonderful and versatile crust that I thought would work well. Rather than pre-baking the crust as per the recipe in JOVB, I put it in the freezer while preparing the frangipan, and then just followed the challenge recipe instructions.

I brought the tart to my French class and it disappeared before my very eyes. The class is made up of students from all over Europe and the world, none of them vegan. They all loved it and just couldn’t believe there were no eggs in the frangipan. Yippie! It was indeed delicious, and I’m really grateful to our hosts for proposing such a wonderful staple recipe to add to my repertoire. I for one know I’ll be making this one again.

Bakewell tartSorry about the wonky pic, we were eating outside and I had to hurry and snap a shot before the tart was all gone!

And because my work is so intertwined with my private life, I used homemade cherry and raspberry jam I’d received earlier in the week from students in my English classes. I love homemade gifts!

Homemade Raspberry Jam, I love you.

Vegan Frangipan

125g non-hydrogenated, non-dairy margerine, softened
125g powdered sugar
The equivalent of 3 Eggs (Ener-G worked perfectly here)
2.5ml almond extract
125g ground almonds
30g AP flour

Whip together the Ener-G and water with beaters, set aside. Cream margarine and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is very fluffy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the Ener-G eggs. Beat well. The batter may appear to curdle or separate – it’s all good. Add the almond extract, almonds and flour and mix until well blended. Yum.

Do you like to play with your food? Visit The Daring Kitchen for wonderful food articles, sexy food p*rn and lovely portraits of the Daring Cooks and Bakers. Also, don’t forget to check out the other Daring Bakers and their tarts!

Who loves potstickers & Dumplings? Me! The Daring Cooks June Challenge

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After our delicious début with Ricotta Gnocchi in May, we’re back and cooking up a veritable storm with Chinese dumplings and potstickers! To clarify the definitions tout de suite, dumplings are steamed or boiled whereas the potstickers are (gasp!) fried. This month’s challenge hostess is Jen from Use Real Butter, and she graciously shared her family recipe for Chinese dumplings/potstickers. This month’s challenge was once again a slam dunk to veganize as the dough is naturally vegan, but that’s not why I love it. I thought it was fantastic because it was so darn tasty!

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again right now : this challenge was a hoot! I’ve found myself wondering why I hadn’t ever made potstickers before, and I’d see them featured from time to time on a blog and lick my lips in admiration, but I’d never actually taken it to the next level and made them. Thank you Daring Cooks for nudging me into new culinary territory!

Vegan Potsticker Filling

I wanted to try to use cannelli beans in the filling in lieu of tofu, because just defaulting to tofu seemed too easy. I feel badly because I didn’t measure my ingredients, but I think it was probably about 2 cups or more cannelli beans, about one cup shredded carrot, four green onions (heads and stems), a little soy sauce, a few teaspoons diced ginger root and salt and pepper. I totally ignored Jen’s advice (sorry Jen) and tossed the onions and beans in the food processor until I had a paste, then added the carrots until well mixed. It was just perfect.

Potsticker/Dumpling Dough

The dough proved a bit of a challenge as I think I added about three or four times the amount of water called for in the recipe. That’s life. I just kept kneading and adding water and knew that the gluten would develop if I would just let it. Once it was ready, however, the dough was very easy to handle and making the dumplings was easy peasy pie. I did punk out and just used a fork to seal my potstickers, but Jen has some beautiful pictures on her blog showing her folding technique.

Vegan Potstickers (pre-fry)

The real disappointment for me with this challenge was the dumplings.
Vegan Chinese Dumplings

I tried to boil a few, but they floated right away, and never really cooked properly, they just turned into floppy wet dumplings. I should have opted for steaming, and I probably will give it a try another time. The potstickers however were a dream come true, and I’ve already been asked to make them again!

Chinese Pot Stickers (Vegan)

Would you like to play with your food? Everyone is welcome in The Daring Kitchen! I would especially like to extend this invitation to any vegans and vegetarians out there – this is an excellent opportunity to flex your creative culinary muscles and veganize omni fare. Learning to prepare delicious “omni-friendly” meals is a wonderful talent to develop, and it’s such a relief to have more recipes in your repertoire!

Homemade Vegan Pasta? Easy-Peasy! The Daring Bakers March Challenge : Vegan Lasagna

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When I gave up baking for Lent, I pretty much knew I’d have to forgo the March Daring Bakers Challenge. I don’t like missing challenges (I’ve only missed one), but figured I’d just make it at a later date. Imagine my joy and surprise when March’s challenge was announced and I saw we’d be making a savory dish, and for me, it fell under the category of “cooking” – so no missed challenge!

The March 2009 challenge is hosted by Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbourne Larder and Enza of Io Da Grande. They have chosen Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper as the challenge.

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I absolutely loved this challenge! It was fun, easy and I didn’t find it time consuming at all (though some of my fellow Dbers did). I usually have homemade tomato sauce in my freezer, and it just so happened to be time to replenish my stock, so the week before I made the lasagna I made about a 4 liters of homemade sauce. I think splitting the challenge into two parts – sauce and pasta – really cut down on my over-all time in the kitchen (or at least my perception of it!).

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This challenge pushed me to do something I’ve always thought about doing – make my own pasta from scratch! I make everything from scratch, but I’d never made pasta – until now. It was so easy and fun, I know I’m going to do it again and again.  I used the Bryanna Clark Grogan recipe for my spinach and it was a gem! Clear, easy to follow and a beautifully cooperative dough to work with. I think from start to finish from beginning the pasta to baking the lasagna the time was about 1h45mins.

pasta-pieces

I believe that my ignorance allows for such fun and discovery in the kitchen. As I’d never made homemade pasta, I wasn’t afraid of it and didn’t really know what I was supposed to be doing or how, so I didn’t think I couldn’t do it “the right way” as I didn’t know what the right way was. I had fun, and so did Guppy who was so excited to learn that dough makes not only bread and cookies, but also pasta. It’s wonderful to help her see the way things are connected.

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And I just have to say, I was feeling like such a rock star with drying spinach pasta hanging about my kitchen. I know I was feeling the same emotions of pride and accomplishment that Guppy feels when she does something for the first time: “Look what I made, mumma!” (speaking of which, I need to send my mum this link so she can be proud of me, too!).

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I don’t make lasagna very often, but I know the next time I do I’ll be making this pasta! It was delicious, and everyone loved it!

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If you haven’t already stopped by The Daring Kitchen – home of The Daring Bakers and The Daring Cooks – you should! There are lots of great feature articles, cookbook reviews and feature members. Lot’s of good, clean fun for everyone!